31 days

31 days – fall 2013 – a helpful tool

Once we had our budget established, we wanted to do our best to stay on track. We had read about Dave Ramsey’s envelope system and liked the idea, but weren’t quite ready to go full force with it.

Instead we decided to go with a similar idea, but not as much cash is involved: Budget Envelopes App by Mobile Innovations LLC.  It’s a free app, but is limited to only about 25 transactions and then if decide to continue to use it, you upgrade to the full package {I think it was about $2.99}.

I found the app easy to use. You set up your “envelopes” {we just pulled categories and totals from our budget sheet} and whenever you have a transaction, you enter it into the specific category.  Below you can see how the different categories are laid out {all screenshots are from the app website}.

Budget App 1 | Atwell Adventures
It also gives you the option to export reports, pie graphs, and other items to help with documenting.

Budget App 2 | Atwell Adventures

So far it has been really good for us to use this system because not only do we have our budget on us at all times, but we also get to learn about each others spending habits and it helps us talk about our spending more – something I have found important to do as a newlywed.

What things do you use to help stick to a budget?

31 days - newlyweds | Atwell Adventures

31 days

31 days – fall 2013 – budgeting 101

Budget. {keep reading, I’ll try to not make this too painful}

When I think of our budget, I try not to think of it as a negative thing. If you’re anything like me, when you don’t write something down, the chances of finding it again are pretty slim.

And who wants that to happen with the money you’ve worked hard for? Like John Maxwell says, “A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.”

maxwell budget advice | Atwell Adventures

Our budget isn’t that complicated and anyone could probably create one similar with pen and paper.

We first started out by writing out our earned income {because you shouldn’t spend more than you earn… am I right?}.

And then we subtracted all of our recurring items/bills like tithe, car loans, school loans, utilities, etc.

We then estimated things like groceries and gas, things that could be vary from month to month, but still needed a cap so we didn’t overspend and would help us stay on track. And we subtracted again.

After we did these steps and saw how much we had left over, we decided to put X amount in savings. We treat it like a bill/payment so we aren’t tempted to spend it.

Once all of those items were taken care of, we then added in fun categories for things like travel, date nights, spending money, etc. Note that we did this AFTER we decided how much we wanted to put towards savings.

And once we both looked it over and agreed, we put into action.

And our first month we only overspent $3000!

Just kidding. Because that would totally defeat our budgeting efforts.

31 days - newlyweds | Atwell Adventures

31 days

31 days – fall 2013 – goal setting

So after we started communicating about money, I got busy on paper… because if I’m going to have to look at a paper with lots of numbers, I’m at least going to make it colorful and throw in a few pie graphs for fun. #NerdAlert

We knew that if we wrote down where our money was going it would be easier to see what we could/should be putting towards our debt to get it paid off as quickly as possible.

I was surprised that by doing this, it gave me more motivation to stay on track and it even made me want to establish some goals to help keep us motivated.

Our first goal that we established was to make a monthly budget and stick to it. I know that sounds like a simple idea, but simple is a nice start for someone who has really never established a budget {well, established a budget with the intention of keeping to it}.

Next we read about Dave Ramsey’s Seven Baby Steps.  Since we are just starting out, our “in sight goals” are steps 1-3. Once we make those steps, we’ll look into learning more about steps 4-7.

Dave Ramsey's Seven Baby Steps | Atwell Adventures

So that’s where we are today. Our debt snowball is getting smaller and we’re trying to base our decisions on things that will help us reach our goals sooner, rather than later. So far, so good!

Do goals help keep you on track?

31 days - newlyweds | Atwell Adventures

 

Update: We’re now DEBT FREE!!!